A day of reckoning has come for destructive crop pests, in the form of vicious voodoo wasps that can convert hapless insects into zombies. Scientists have cracked the genome code for three species of the parasitic wasp, in hopes of deploying them against pests that destroy billions of tons of crops per year, The Independent reports.
The research team especially wants to figure out which wasp genes control which species of pests the wasps attack. Precise target control on the genetic level could make wasps a potent natural weapon against farm pests. And an added bonus could come from developing the wasp venom into new medical drugs.
U.S. scientists used thousands of parasitic wasps last year to help defend crops such as California olive groves. Perhaps they can soon direct a more coordinated assault using genetically-modified wasp variants. Who minds the minders?
[via The Independent]
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